some image

Blog

DTS’ Mobile Asset Data Collection Fleet and Asset Inventories

November 10, 2017

DTS’ Mobile Asset Data Collection (MAC) vehicles are not just for pavement inventories and inspections. The DTS fleet is built with identical and redundant systems that collect an enormous amount of data in a single pass. In any given week, each DTS MAC vehicle collects an average of 1 TB of data. This data consists of:

  • High definition continuous pavement images
  • Forward and rear-facing high-resolution right-of-way digital imagery with sub-meter locational accuracy
  • Inertial measuring unit (IMU) with centimeter-level positioning of MAC vehicle during collection
  • Distance measuring instrument (DMI) used for system integration
  • GPS equipment consisting of two positional units and one differential unit for mapping level positioning of the vehicle, heading information, and positional tagging of images
  • Surface (road) profiler for precise pavement ride and rut measurements
  • On board servers for storing data, processing images and storing profiler, GPS, DMI and IMU data

 
MAC Van
 
While most projects are driven by a single goal, such as an updated network-level pavement inspection or the creation of a sign inventory, many DTS clients utilize the secondary benefits of all the additional data collected by the MAC vehicles. Since DTS drives all streets within the jurisdictional project boundaries, they are able to provide a “wheels-on-the-ground” verified update of the street centerline file.

Many times, the MAC field crews encounter barricaded roads, inaccessible gated communities, or streets that may exist in the GIS file but do not exist on the ground (such as platted but unbuilt subdivisions.) Emergency response crews, addressing departments, planners, and the local property appraiser can all benefit from this updated information. DTS has even had clients create 3-D models of their street centerline network based on the MAC vehicle GPS van track elevation data.
 
VUEPoint Screen
 
Additionally, many DTS clients set up an online web-based video logger viewer application based on the data collected by the MAC vehicles (as well as data from other collection platforms). VUEPoint® allows for multiple camera views, comparison of images from year to year, and a host of other features including:

  • Query routes, and see roadway and right-of-way images on a route
  • Play the video after selecting a starting point on a road
  • Ingests a variety of roadway video data from several different vendors
  • Customize the view to see different data points for each segment (add columns to the data grid)
  • Customize the view by selecting the number of camera images to display (from those available)
  • A choice of resolution images (thumbnail and higher resolution images, if available).
  • Optional pavement camera view display

 
 
VUEPoint® allows asset management personnel to take a virtual drive along the roadway without ever leaving the office. It saves time and money while providing a level of detailed information that is as good as if standing there in person. Moreover, the ability of the viewer to allow users to compare data across multiple years helps management personnel get a real-world perspective when elements of the data seem skewed. It allows them to see if there is a data anomaly or if the condition has really deteriorated as reflected in the data.

Finally, the DTS team also specializes in the creation of GIS asset inventories for our clients. By utilizing a combination of right-of-way imagery collected by the MAC vehicles, aerial imagery, and existing tables and databases, DTS can create a comprehensive GIS-based inventory of all assets located and maintained along any public right-of-way or jurisdictional boundary.

DTS creates new GIS data by extracting any assets captured within the right-of-way imagery collected by our MAC vehicles. A potential listing of assets includes but is not limited to: signs, fire hydrants, utility poles, sidewalks, curbs, manholes, guardrails, water valves, street lights, traffic signals, inlets, bus shelters, and pavement markings and stripings. After these assets are extracted from the imagery with sub-meter accuracy, all attributes requested by the client are assigned to the asset along with a geo-tagged image of the asset.

DTS also generates new GIS data by digitizing assets based off aerial imagery. Examples of this include building footprints, segmented street centerlines, city-maintained mowable acres, railroad lines, and city-owned properties.
Additionally, existing client-maintained databases can also be utilized to create GIS data.
 
Many databases contain some type of geographic attribute such as an address or parcel number. This data can be geocoded and mapped into the overall GIS asset inventory in order to retain historical records and institutional knowledge.
 
Intersection
For more information about DTS’ Mobile Asset Data Collection services, please contact Daniel Behnke, PMP, AICP, GISP – Director of Asset Management Operations: dbehnke@dtsgis.com or 407.375.3049.
 
 
 

Assisting Organizations in Enterprise Wide Asset Management

November 6, 2017

DTS CIO Top 25
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy” This old-age saying by author Michael LeBoeuf aligns well with the business philosophy of Data Transfer Solutions (DTS), a Florida-based transportation solutions firm with focus in enterprise infrastructure asset management, transportation technologies, GIS and engineering.

Allen Ibaugh, AICP, GISP -CEO, Data Transfer Solutions elaborates, “We have developed processes and technology tools that ensure the success of our customers through better data, better designs, better decisions.”
 
Read the full article (PDF)  
 
 

Pavement Condition Ratings: Don’t stress the distress.

September 29, 2017

The backbone of any pavement management system is the measurement of the existing pavement conditions. In order to achieve a representative assessment of the current conditions, we need to quickly and efficiently gather information and process the observations into a value that can be used to rate the pavements for evaluation.

This also initiates development of performance curves used for prediction of future performance. We often receive questions regarding the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) values we provide from our field data collection. We believe it may be helpful to answer commonly asked questions about this scoring system. After all, PCI isn’t something to be ignored.

Potential outcome of extreme pavement distress, when PCI is ignored.

What is the Pavement Condition Index (PCI)?

As defined by ASTM-D6433-11, PCI is a parameter commonly used as a scaled measurement of the distresses observed on the pavement surface. A scale from 0 to 100, with the higher values indicating better conditions, represents the pavement’s current state. In order to interpret the PCI values obtained from field observations, we believe it is necessary to first understand how the values are calculated. The PCI score is based on a series of deduct curves representing various distress types with three severity levels for each distress (low, moderate, and high).

Values obtained from these deduct curves depend upon the density and severity of each distress. The variability of deduction values is based on the type of distress, largely by the differential of environmental aging versus structural distresses. The summation of these deducts is basically subtracted from the perfect score of 100, after corrections are made for the number of distress types. It is valuable to understand that not all distresses indicate similar failure or deterioration rates. Deductions for environmental aging distresses may be relatively small while deductions for structural distresses can be four to five times greater.

Pavement distress example imagery.

At what level is the PCI value really used within a pavement management system?

Pavement management can be divided into two operating levels, the network level and the project level. The network level deals with the key administrative decisions of the pavement system and the service level that should be maintained. The question of which street sections need work, how much money is needed, when treatment is scheduled, and which needs should be funded are a few of the elements involved in the network-level.

The PCI value is most often used within the network level to define network conditions and differentiate between management sections that should be chosen for maintenance. Once management sections are chosen for funding within a given year, the project level deals with technical management decisions for more detailed conditions and specific project conditions. Given that a particular section will receive funding for maintenance, the project-level will help find the best alternative treatment to apply.

Pavement project work.

Is the PCI value calculated from all of the distresses within the roadway?

Within each management section of roadway, one or more survey units are inspected and rated to represent the condition of the entire management section. The entire management section is rarely rated completely. Due to cost constraints of rating 100 percent of the roadway, not to mention the time involved, experience has determined that smaller survey areas provide sufficient information to represent the overall pavement condition.

This means that distresses within the roadway that do not occur in the survey area will not be rated, or other distresses may only exist in the survey area but not throughout the entire management section. However, our data collection provides images of all of the lanes driven and can be reviewed at a later time if questions arise concerning distresses outside of the rated survey sections.

PCI road survey results.

Do the surveys cover all of the lanes

The lanes driven during a collection period are chosen to represent the overall condition of the roadway, but may not include all lanes. For example, on a two-lane road, both directions are driven and collected, while on a four-lane roadway, just the outside lanes of each direction are typically driven. For a six-lane roadway, typically the outside and inside lane of each direction are driven.

We generally find that distresses outside of the survey areas are isolated and maintained as such; therefore, it is not imperative that the survey is inclusive of all of the distresses in a management section. Surveying more pavement in a management section, will likely not significantly change the general assessment or decisions made for a particular roadway.

What does PCI really represent?

Scores represent the general conditions, but may not document all distresses that should be repaired within a management section. The percentages of distress observed in the survey area are extrapolated over the entire section to determine maintenance budgets. Detailed project level analysis is required once a particular management section is selected for treatment.

Is the distress evaluation and PCI calculation automated

DTS provides data collection with Mobile Asset Collection (MAC) vehicles, resulting in images of all assets within the right-of-way. The imagery provides GIS information for all assets along with measurable images of the pavement distresses. This portion of the collection is mainly automated as a collection process. However, each pavement distress is identified, evaluated, and measured by engineering technicians viewing these images. These professionals are trained to provide consistency in the rating, yet an amount of subjectivity remains in the process. Each person will view distresses slightly differently, but the descriptions provided in ASTM-D6433-11 help provide uniformity to the process. Having the raters perform their observations in a controlled environment, versus working in the field along busy roadways, reduces the variances within the process.

Two of Data Transfer Solutions, LLC’s state-of-the-art Mobile Asset Collection (MAC) vans.

We hope this discussion has provided some clarity to the pavement evaluation process and answers questions you may have had. If you have additional questions or would like to engage in more detailed discussions, our engineers are available to visit with you and review your data to provide a better understanding of what pavement data collection can tell you.

For more information on how you can obtain your PCI ratings through expert data collection, contact Scot Gordon, PE – Vice President of Asset Management Services: sgordon@dtsgis.com
 
 

MIDWEST REGIONAL VUEWORKS USERS CONFERENCE

June 12, 2017

Get Connected!

We greatly look forward to having you all join us for the day to discuss VUEWorks Asset Management Software!

August 11th, 2017

Register Here  
 

CONFERENCE AGENDA

Morning Session

8:30 – 9:00 AM: Sign-in and Meet and Greet/Introductions
9:00 – 10:00 AM: VUEWorks Features and Enhancements, MobileVUE, presented by Lisa Schoenfelder
10:15 – 10:45 AM: Break
10:45 – noon: Esri Presentation – Technical workshop to better enhance your VUEWorks user experience!

Lunch

12:00 – noon: Catered lunch with discussion project management and change management

Afternoon Session

1:00 – 2:00 PM: ITRCC Case Study (Process, Deployment, Lessons Learned)
2:15 – 2:45 PM: Work Order Configuration Tips
2:45 – 3:15 PM: Advanced Reporting Configuration Tips
3:30 – 4:00 PM: Open Discussion
4:00 PM: Closing

CONFERENCE LOCATION

Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation
Statewide Traffic Operations Center
433 W St. Paul Ave., Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53203

HOTEL ACCOMODATIONS

Hampton Inn & Suites
176 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Take me out to the Ballgame!

Brewers

Join us Thursday, August 10, 2017 @ 7:10 pm for a pre-conference social event at the Miller Park Dew Deck to watch the Milwaukee Brewers take on the Minnesota Twins.

*Conference attendance is required to participate in this exclusive social event.
You will receive your Eventbrite RSVP link once registered for the conference!

Register Here  
 

DTS Supporting Intelligent Asset Management

June 1, 2017

business intelligence

Business intelligence is a hot topic these days and, understandably, those in the transportation sector are clamoring to get a piece of that action; insights into their infrastructure/assets and management practices, return on investments and as a tool to make better decisions across their enterprise.

At DTS, we focus on intelligent asset management. Therefore, it makes sense that we are helping our DOT clients integrate their assets and GIS data with these business intelligence tools.

Business intelligence or “BI” is not new. Tableau® has been on the scene crushing it for well over a decade. Others, like Microsoft and Esri, are or are attempting to make inroads into this line of business. Here is a brief look at Microsoft’s Power BI. I encourage you to check it out as well as Esri’s Insights for ArcGIS. This is a space DTS has and will continue to play in!

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a relative newcomer to the business analytics services arena. It offers a free desktop interface for the beleaguered data analyst tasked with creating sharp looking hard-copy reports that tell stories. Microsoft also offers cloud-based services (SaaS) for self-service analytics (free) and sharing (paid).

In addition, it has recently announced the Power BI Premium service, a capacity-based licensing model, which offers organizations the ability to manage their reports with on-premise Power BI Report Server. Microsoft has made it easy to run with an Azure cloud infrastructure (Azure Active Directory, Azure SQL Database, etc.) or leverage on-premises resources such as Active Directory, SQL Server, etc.

With Power BI service and Power BI Premium, developers can embed dashboards and reports in desktop and web applications. This functionality allows organizations to provide access to big data and powerful analytical tools in custom applications.

Power BI does support limited mapping functionality out-of-box with their familiar Bing map visualization component. It supports rendering points based on coordinates or geocoded addresses, and polygons based on common boundaries derived from geocoded location columns such as zip code, city, county and state values. Power BI currently does not support rendering linear data. They do offer an R component that has some mapping capabilities however.

For customers with geospatial data, the glaring lack of support for mapping features using native geometry from the underlying RDBMS is stark. So how is a DOT to represent their assets that include points, lines and polygons? Through custom components. Microsoft has made Power BI extensible meaning developers can create and share components.

ArcGIS Maps For Power BI

If your organization lacks a development team but is using ArcGIS Enterprise, then perhaps Insights for ArcGIS is worth looking into.

Esri has released ArcGIS Maps for Power BI free. While the data available for rendering has the same limitations as the default Bing map (coordinates or geocoded locations), it does offer a much richer visualization experience for the end user.

Supplemental reference layers may be included from AGOL or ArcGIS Server. Designers will appreciate multiple basemap options to choose from and map themes that include heat map and cluster renderers among others. The component also offers several feature selection options:

  • Point and click for individual features. This is similar to what is available in the default Bing map
  • Drawing a rectangle to select features contained
  • Using polygon features from reference layers to select features contained

Overall, Esri has done a very nice job with this component. It is well worth checking out.